A Patient's Story

 "If I have learned anything, it is that we never know when, how, or whom a serious illness will strike. If and when it does, each one of us wants not simply the best possible care for our body but for our whole being.’’  ~ Kenneth B. Schwartz

Seventeen years ago a seminal piece was published by the Boston Globe.  It was entitled: A Patient's Story, written by Boston healthcare attorney Ken Schwartz.  Ken had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and was now facing the end of his life in 1995.  Through his eloquent prose, Ken taught us all that often it is the compassion of the health care provider, the humanness of the experience, that is as important as the medication and high-tech treatments that we offer our patients. The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare was founded after Ken's death and has been doing wonderful work on ever since. Little did I know when I read A Patient's Story in 1995 that it would reflect and inform my own experiences as a mother of a terminally ill adolescent and ultimately would redirect my professional life as a passionate advocate of the integration of compassion and empathy into health care environments, for both the patient and the caregiver.

Today, the Boston Globe reflects on the past seventeen years since the publication of A Patient's Story, and of The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare's work on supporting and improving compassionate caregiving. Click here to read the article: Finding Healing for the Healers by Helen Shen.

I would love to hear your stories about compassionate caregiving or perhaps opportunities that were lost. How can we work together to ensure compassionate and empathic healthcare?  Please feel free to post your thoughts and comments on my blog.